Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider negligently injures a patient. Causes can include doctor fatigue, inexperience, understaffing, lack of communication, failure to follow proper procedures and protocols, rushing through a procedure, or missing a diagnosis, to name just a few. In the most severe cases, medical malpractice can lead to catastrophic injuries, disfigurement, additional surgeries or other medical procedures, loss of use of an organ system, or even death.
If someone is injured because of a medical error, the victim or their family has a right to seek compensation from the people or entities that caused the injuries. But successfully pursuing compensation for medical negligence is difficult, complicated, and should not be attempted without the experience of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer that knows how to prove negligence.
Elements of a Medical Negligence Claim
To succeed in a medical malpractice case, the victim must prove: (1) that the healthcare provider had a duty to provide care; (2) that the provider’s care fell below the applicable standard of care; (3) that the provider’s failure to provide appropriate care caused the victim’s injuries; and (4) that the victim was injured as a result.
Duty. In most medical malpractice cases, duty is clear. The patient was in the care of the healthcare provider, and the healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care.
Breach and Causation. Proving breach of duty and causation is one of the most difficult parts of a medical negligence case. To prove negligence, the victim must prove that the conduct of the medical professional fell below the standard of care and that this breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries or death. In almost all medical malpractice cases, you will need an expert, or even multiple experts, to explain how the conduct of the doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare provider fell below the standard of care and caused the victim’s injuries.
To qualify, the expert must practice in the same area of medicine as the defendant. Once qualified, the expert must explain the standard of care, how the defendant deviated from it, and how the breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries.
Damages. Medical malpractice often leads to severe, catastrophic injuries, emotional trauma, financial harm, and even wrongful death. Victims of medical malpractice and their family often suffer emotional trauma as a result of the healthcare provider’s negligence, and family members may need to shoulder additional financial burdens. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can present evidence of the harm suffered by the victim and their family, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In cases of wrongful death, the victim’s family may also be entitled to compensation for loss of companionship and funeral and burial expenses.
How to Prove Negligence With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to analyze your case, work with the appropriate experts to establish the defendant’s negligence, and show how the victim and their family were damaged as a result.
However, medical malpractice cases are extremely complex and vigorously contested. They are also subject to a short one-year statute of limitations, an affidavit of merit requirement, and other roadblocks that make it more difficult for a victim and their family to obtain full and fair compensation.
If you or someone you love was a victim of medical malpractice, the experienced medical negligence attorneys at Robenalt Law can help. We have the experience, resources, and expertise to successfully take on your case. We also handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee, which means we don’t get paid unless we recover compensation for you.
Learn why clients choose us to handle their medical malpractice cases and get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, then contact Robenalt Law today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.